SEE ALSO: You Don't Know Jack and  More photos
STORY: Jeannette Quirk
PHOTOGRAPHY: Jeannette Quirk, Marilyn Indahl

Lawn What?
A Step-by-Step Guide to Learning the Game of Lawn Bowling

 Step One: Stumble across the game of Lawn Bowling while talking to some athletes from the Aussie contingent at the Hoot n' Annie BBQ after opening ceremonies on Sunday. OK, so it's not a hard and fast rule that you have to be talking to a group of Australians at the World Transplant Games to find out about Lawn Bowling but that's just how I came across it.

 Step Two: Find a venue to play Lawn Bowling at. Here in London, Ontario, the Elmwood Lawn Bowling Club serves that function admirably.

 Step Three: Run into Keith Galdino (liver transplant -- 11.5 years and going strong) from Team Australia (and also part of the Aussie contingency from the BBQ) who has a bit of time to explain the rules. Again, I'm pretty sure you don't all have to have your own Keith to explain the game but it sure does help.

 Step Four: Collect your equipment. You will need four lopsided balls and a kitty or jack (depending on where you are from). Step 4a: If you are really hard core, you will also have special smooth-soled shoes so you do not mar the meticulously groomed grass, a white collared shirt, white pants, and white smallclothes (a.k.a. unmentionables). No solid colors or patterns please; lawn bowling is a gentleman's game. However, since this is a basic guide for beginners, we'll gloss over 4a for now.

 Step Five: The first player should grab the kitty, the white ball that looks a lot like a computer trackball gone AWOL, and step up to the mat. Roll the kitty down the playing filed (called a rink), past the 18-meter mark (designated by little pigs at the Elmwood Lawn Bowling Club) but not over the far edge and into the gutter.

 Step Six: Grab a large lopsided ball. Yes, they are intentionally designed to not be round; it enables the ball to curve slightly at the end of the throw. Note the two sides:

small spot...
...and large spot.

Always keep the small spot side facing you. I think. Unless you are throwing backhand, in which case keep the large spot side facing you. Well, anyway, always keep a spot side facing you so that the ball never rolls over any of its spots. The ball will curve left or right, depending on the size of the spot facing you. If you roll the ball over its spots, it will go careening into the other rinks and you will have to buy everyone on the field a drink.

 Step Seven: Roll that ball! Try to get it as close to the kitty as you can, staying within the lines marked on the backboard of the rink. Step 7a: It helps to place your foot on the mat in the direction you want the ball to go. Step 7b: Try not to roll the ball out of the rink lines, otherwise you have to buy your opponent a drink.

 Step Eight: After all the balls have been rolled, go over to the end of the rink and score your game. The closest ball to the kitty wins and garners its player a point. If one player has more than one ball that is the closest, then that player gets one or more points, depending on how many balls they have that are closer to the kitty than their opponent's balls.

 Step Nine: See step 4 for another game, or go into the clubhouse and have a beer with your opponent.

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Last updated on: Friday, 05-Feb-2010 10:11:56 EST